There has been a lot of chatter about the last few Existing Home Sales Reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Year-over-year sales have been down four of the last five months. Experts are asking whether or not the housing recovery is beginning to stall. Let’s take a closer look at the data.
It is true that last month’s annualized sales rate of 4.62M was less than the 4.87M reported last January. However, after further scrutiny, the report reveals an interesting situation: sales of non-distressed properties are actually up. In January 2013, 23% of the 4.87M sales were distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) meaning 3.75M non-distressed properties were sold. In January 2014, 15% of the 4.62M sales were distressed properties. That means 3.93M non-distressed properties sold – an increase of 180,000 sales.
When we dig deeper into NAR’s research, we also see that homes at the higher price points are selling at greater increases than the lower price points.
This deeper look at the report shows evidence that the housing market is still doing quite well when we removed distressed sales (which are in many cases lower end properties) from the equation.